Staff Writer Lindsey Prather asked Student Association candidates a series of questions before the upcoming Student Association vote.
SA Executive elections will take place on Harvey. They will be live from 9:00 a.m. on March 11 to 9:00 p.m. on March 12.
Why are you running for SA? I want to be the president of Student Association because I want to advocate for the student body of The University of Tulsa. I believe that my experience, connections and leadership can be used to help focus the leadership of SA to create positive, meaningful change at TU.
What is the most important issue facing students? The most important issue that students face at TU is the lack of dialogue between communities and groups on our campus. There is a huge opportunity for growth in terms of developing ways to make students feel heard and to make their needs known.
What is your favorite TU event you have attended in the past year? My favorite event from this past year was HallowQueens. I loved learning about the historical art of drag at the first event of Pride Month! I appreciated the event because it’s unlike any other that is hosted at TU. Props to PRIDE at TU for creating the event years ago!
In your opinion, what is the role of SA? I believe the role of Student Association is to create and promote social, educational and cultural opportunities for students and to advocate for the interests of the entire student body. Further, I believe it is the role of Student Association to provide avenues for information, ideas, concerns and expectations to be communicated throughout and within TU.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? I was once told that “No one will manage your life for you.” This simple sentence is a constant reminder to be aware of my limits and to remember that it’s okay to say “no” to some of the good things in order to make time for the best things.
Why are you running for SA? I’m running for SA because I have had the leadership experience to bring real change to TU. I’ve attended more than one university and I want to bring what works in other places here. I know what it’s like to feel unengaged and have no connection to the school.
What is the most important issue facing students?
There are a number of issues facing students, but the number one problem is the lack of socialization opportunities. TU lacks school spirit. We don’t have traditions and culture like other institutions and I want to change that.
What is your favorite TU event you have attended in the past year? I’m a big fan of watching the TU tennis teams. We have a wonderful facility and a great men’s and women’s tennis team. I can’t remember one particularly memorable event, but tennis is always fun. Orientation Week was a blast, but that was not within the past year.
In your opinion, what is the role of SA? The role of SA is to serve the students. SA needs to understand the campus climate and what all students are feeling, not just those usual suspects. Instead of focusing exclusively on funding guidelines, SA has to work to convey what students are thinking to those in the administration who can make a difference about it.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? Those closest to me have said that if I believe that something is incredibly important, I should pursue it regardless of whether the odds are in my favor or not.
Why are you running for SA? I believe that attitude reflects leadership. And in order to see the change we seek it is our job as student leaders to set an example for the student body. And if our leadership is vouching for all types of students then we can slowly change the culture of SA and create a more welcoming environment for all students on campus.
What is the most important issue facing students?
Students feel as if they are not being heard or that their voice has no value to it. The student association is meant to provide a platform for all students to express their opinions and ideas. This problem needs to be addressed and further actions need to be taken to give students the proper representation that is needed in order to bring about positive growth on this campus.
What is your favorite TU event you have attended in the past year? My favorite TU event was Mr. and Mrs. International. It provided great insight to other cultures and celebrated people of all backgrounds.
In your opinion, what is the role of SA? The role of SA is to provide a platform for students of all backgrounds to express their ideas and opinions, as well as providing students with the ability to bring about change for whatever concerns they may have.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? “Trust yourself when all men doubt you.”
James Smith Williams
Why are you running for SA? I am running for Vice President of SA to help enhance the quality of life for students at TU. I see SA not as a bullet point on a resume, but as a platform to improve our campus and help fulfill the needs of students. I hope to partner with students and productive members of the administration to better student resources, organizational opportunities and student engagement.
What is the most important issue facing students? The most important issue facing students is their lack of representation on campus, including the SA Senate. During the Senate election this semester, the representatives of several seats ran unopposed and two seats were not filled. SA cannot fulfill its purpose of giving a voice to students if not every constituency is represented.
What is your favorite TU event you have attended in the past year? My favorite TU event that I attended this past school year was the International Bazaar hosted by the Association of International Students. I really enjoyed the delicious food and the impressive performances of students in the Parade of Nations. The event was extremely well-planned, informative and fun.
In your opinion, what is the role of SA? I think that the purpose of the Student Association is strongly encapsulated in our mission statement: “to create and promote intellectual, social and cultural opportunities, to act as a catalyst for change within the university, and to advocate for the interests of the student body.” The Student Association should be a stable advocate that our students can always rely on. SA should act as a strong ally for students, rather than a hindrance to progress.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? The best advice I have been given comes from my family: “Treat others the way that you want to be treated.” Although this phrase is used consistently in society, it has struck a chord with me since I was young. This taught me that every single person has value and that they should be treated with kindness and respect.
Why are you running for SA? I am tired of students and organizations paying the price for unproductive leadership. In the same time that the SA budget has been slashed, events and activities have not changed to be more effective. Leaders continue to campaign on identical platforms year to year rather than focusing on specific issues that need to be addressed as we — as a University — change.
What is the most important issue facing students? The biggest issue facing us as students is the break down of the campus culture. We are angry and hurt by the current state of TU, and as a result, the bond that unites us as students feels non-existent. TU will not get better unless we as students recognize the importance of contributing towards a constructive campus culture.
What is your favorite TU event you have attended in the past year? My favorite event I attended this year was the Mid-Autumn Festival hosted by the Chinese Student Association. Not only does this organization do a great job in providing a unique experience to students, but it is one of the first large events of the year that freshmen get to see. The standard for large events is set for the year, and students are encouraged by this great demonstration of communities coming together.
In your opinion, what is the role of SA? The purpose of Student Association is to advance the student experience. Whether it is providing distinct opportunities for advancement outside of the classroom, or providing resources for the students to succeed, the focus should be about creating an atmosphere that is undeniably beneficial for the student body.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? “Your ability to have difficult conversations will directly determine how successful you are.” Not only has this guided me through difficult decisions, but it is among the most relevant quotes that could help our campus. When we as leaders fail to admit that there are issues or fail to address issues with others, the students bear the negative externalities. As a Vice President, I will have the opportunity to have the difficult conversations not only within the Senate and Cabinet, but with the TU administration about the challenges that we as students face every day.
Why are you running from SA? I want to make the funding process more efficient and overall be a point of contact for students for planning events, reviewing OSPs or helping them resolve issues. Office hours are going to be set in my schedule so that anyone with any question or need can come by for assistance.
What is the most important issue facing students? I personally believe that the most important issues for students are actually having a voice in the things that SA does and knowing how to make the most of SA’s resources. I want students to feel comfortable approaching members and voicing their opinions so we can make the changes within the rules that would benefit them.
What is your favorite TU event you have attended in the past year? Most likely, my favorite event this past year was street painting during homecoming because everyone collaborated to create some amazing designs. It was messy and a lot of work but at the same time, really fun to watch and help with.
In your opinion, what is the role of SA? The role of SA is to work in the interests of students in order to promote their college experiences and goals. We are funded and run by students, so we should in turn reinvest in them and their plans.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? “It’s hard to ignore when people judge you, but if you can, your life will be way more fun. You’ll be able to treat yourself and not feel bad about it. Like riding a lime in a onesie.”
Why are you running for SA? I am running for Student Association because I genuinely believe that I have the skill set needed to propel the organization through this time of uncertainty and change. I plan to make SA something that the students are proud of and that they can rely on, all while working to improve transparency with the student body, something students are expressing the importance of. Ultimately, TU students work hard in their academics and organizations and I want to do what I can to make their lives easier through a streamlined and transparent funding process.
What is the most important issue facing students? I believe the most important issue facing students is the uncertainty that seems to be surrounding campus. It is no secret that students, whether passionate about the changes being implemented or not, feel that there is a sense of uncertainty weighing down the University’s potential for growth. What SA can do is to act as a liaison between the students and administration, fighting for students’ ability to have their voice heard.
What is your favorite TU event you have attended in the past year? My favorite event was probably the TU Men’s Basketball game against Wichita State this season! The energy in Reynolds Center was contagious and something I definitely won’t forget.
In your opinion, what is the role of SA? I feel that the Student Association exists purely to serve the student body. Everything that SA does is to enhance the college experience for students, whether that is through programming (the primary focus of Cabinet), chartering and funding student organizations (primary focus of Senate) or holding all branches accountable and having an unbiased party in SA decision making (primary focus of Judicial). SA works to uphold the student experience through continuing TU traditions and constantly evolving to meet the students’ needs.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? Before leaving for school when I was little my mom would tell me, “Do the right thing even if it’s not fun, easy, or popular.” I still strive to live with this integrity.
Why are you running for SA? I’m running for Secretary of Student Association because I believe that the best way to increase the access students have to SA is through documentation. Our minutes, agendas and general club resources are difficult to find use. If elected, I want to make it easier for students to see where their money is going through our documentation. I also would work to help them have a say in their Student Association, through more public access to Senate and Cabinet meetings.
What is the most important issue facing students? I believe the most important issue facing students today is the lack of transparency within Student Association. All students pay a fee once a semester, but very few actually know where that money ends up and how Student Association decides where to spend it.
What is your favorite TU event you have attended in the past year? My favorite TU event from this past year was homecoming, specifically the sidewalk painting. I enjoyed it because it was a lot of fun getting to hang out and just paint the sidewalk whatever way we wanted with a lot of my friends. I enjoyed getting to see the final product created by everyone at the end of the day.
In your opinion, what is the role of SA? I believe that the purpose of Student Association is to serve as the bridge between the student body and the administration here on campus. Our work focuses on keeping the fires of TU tradition and student spirit burning strong. We do this through working with campus clubs and organizations to provide funding for events and meetings, as well as through planning events of our own to serve the TU community and bring pride and joy to TU.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? If you try, you will WILL learn. If you are willing to fail, you have a chance to succeed through that failure. The world will still turn if you fail at something, so it is better to fail early and to learn than to over emphasize a possibility of failure.